Barbara Kasten, Construct PC/I-A, 1981, Polaroid photograph, 24 x 20".

Barbara Kasten

Gallery Luisotti

Barbara Kasten, Construct PC/I-A, 1981, Polaroid photograph, 24 x 20".

The history of abstract photography begins with the inception of the medium itself. The first recorded photograph, taken in 1825 by Frenchman Nicéphore Niépce (he called photography “sun-writing”), depicts a view outside his window. But exposing an image back then demanded a full day’s sunlight, and that grainy picture is most notable for the weird, impossible angles of its shadows. Technology necessitated that early photographs such as Niépce’s capture a palimpsest of accumulated seconds (or hours)—that is, function as images of abstracted time—and yet, overwhelmingly, the medium, ever since the invention of the daguerreotype, has primarily been used to capture singular, “decisive” moments. Like Alvin Langdon Coburn and László Moholy-Nagy before her, Barbara Kasten is among the few photographers whose images have consistently used abstraction to ask how, or even whether,

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